by Mary Ellen Eagan
Apologies for the somewhat belated post, but here’s a quick recap of the recent UC Davis Noise and Air Quality Symposium: Navigating NextGen, held March 4-6 in Palm Springs, CA.
The focus of much of the discussion at this year’s symposium was implementation of the FAA’s NextGen Program, the early phases of which are now being rolled out across the country. This blog has discussed NextGen issues before, but I think this was the first conference I’ve attended that attendees were uniformly focused on finding ways to make implementation a success.
The symposium keynote was delivered by Dennis Roberts of the FAA’s ATO. Dennis is responsible for managing FAA’s Optimization of Airspace and Procedures in the Metroplex (OAPM) “metroplex” projects, a systematic, integrated, and accelerated program to implement satellite based navigation in the aviation system. HMMH is involved in several of the metroplex projects, including the Houston Metroplex, which is on the President’s Federal Infrastructure Dashboard, which was initiated to monitor the pace of DOT efforts to accelerate major infrastructure projects by improving permitting and environmental review processes, and to improve the accountability, transparency, and efficiency of Federal actions.
Other sessions focused on providing an overview of NextGen technologies and Performance Based Navigation (PBN) terminology, as well as airport experiences implementing and collaborating with FAA on the implementation of procedures at their airports. The takeaway message from the entire symposium is that there is an urgent need for airports to get involved with NextGen airspace planning – airports understand local issues and provide a critical link between communities and the FAA. Many airports have also spent years developing noise abatement programs and must be at the table to ensure that airspace planners understand both the spirit and substance of noise abatement. As active participants in several of these projects, we at HMMH believe that this collaborative approach will be critical to early success of NextGen.
Presentations for the symposium can be found here (click on the presenter’s name). Next year’s symposium will be held in Orange County, CA. Please let me know if you have suggestions for topics for discussion.